Wheelman Review

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Breaknecking in Barcelona


While there’s no doubting Vin Diesel’s commitment to videogaming – he founded Tigon Studios in 2002, a development house responsible for the sublime Escape From Butcher Bay – as most Tigon projects feature Diesel in the leading role, and often act as glorified trailers for his dream movies, it’s hard to think of Wheelman as anything more than a vanity project. But despite the odds stacked against it, this mindless, balls-out chase caper is surprisingly accomplished and gloriously thrilling.

A cut-price GTA that lacks the depth and scope of Rockstar’s masterpiece, Wheelman works hard to make the driving as simple and gratifying as possible, thrusting players into a series of car chases through the twisting streets of a virtual Barcelona. Best of all, though, are the hero’s outrageous car-jacking moves and car combat, the simplest of taps allowing you to ram cop cars against walls, leap from one vehicle to another as you burn down the motorway, or flip your car through 180 degrees during a chase to riddle you pursuers with bullets. Dumb as hell, granted – but when a game’s this fast, intuitive and exciting, it’s a pleasure to put your brain on standby.